Happy Valentine’s Day

13 02 2008

I told my interstate husband last night that I had already emailed off my Valentine’s Day letter.  He was quite right to be confused, considering he hadn’t received it.  You see, it wasn’t addressed to him. 

Dear Lord Archer,

I have decided to mark this Valentine’s Day by writing to you to tell you about the love affair I am having with your books. It’s been going for some time now, off and on. It began in the 80’s sometime with Kane and Abel and has recently been reignited with Prison Diary I and II.  I’d love another day in bed with Prison Diary III, but it seems to have lost it’s way between homes in our recent move. I am keeping an eye on the old address, in case it finds it’s way back.

I confess, there have been many others, and I will continue to stray for many years to come, but it’s nice to know there’ll always be an Archer novel resting on my library shelf, waiting to be rediscovered and relocated to my beside table.  Truth be told, one of the many advantages of having children is that it destroyed much of my memory, allowing me to start the affair all over again, enjoying the first thrills anew.

I’ve recently joined forces with a fellow Australian teacher librarian (and others) to promote school libraries in Australian schools. The continued decrease over many years in library staffing and funding is one of great concern to many.  Not only do we believe (and the research supports) that libraries and teacher librarians have an impact on student learning and literacy, but also that reading is at the heart of all learning, and to foster a love of reading requires time and the opportunity to explore books.

It was with great excitement that we read about Gordon Brown’s National Year of Reading. It’s the kind of policy we readers dream of. Although it doesn’t say much about the role of school libraries, it is still wonderful to know that somewhere, reading is promoted as something to be enjoyed and savoured, instead of assessed and graded.  It would be interesting to know if the programme is being encouraged in HM prisons.

Thankyou for the many years of enjoyment you have given me, and many more to come. 

Yours sincerely,
Leonie Paatsch
Melbourne, Australia

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